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Chapter No. 18. Biofilm Reactors.

Expected Study Load: 6 hours


Despite that biofilm reactors can achieve similar treatment objectives like activated sludge systems (such as organic matter removal, nitrification, denitrification, and chemical or biological phosphorus removal), conversion processes are typically transport limited when compared to activated sludge processes. Mass transport limitations have implications on the availability of substrate in the bulk phase and therefore on the microbial ecology within the biofilm as a result of the location of the different bacterial groups. Bacteria closer to the surface of the biofilm have the advantage of a more direct access to substrates in the bulk phase, having a stronger contribution to the overall substrate removal. On the other hand, bacteria living further away from the surface of the biofilm play a smaller role on the removal process, but are better protected from detachment. These are important aspects that must be taken into account for the design and operation of biofilm reactors.

In the present course, Prof. Dr. Eberhard Morgenroth currently at ETH Zurich Institute of Environmental Engineering and EAWAG in Switzerland, presents a comprehensive overview of different biofilm reactor systems and about criteria for their design and operation as a function of the mass transport limitations experienced in these systems.

Time Framework for the Course: 1 week

Aims of the chapter

  • To provide an overview of the most commonly applied biofilm reactors and systems.
  • To introduce different criteria for the design and operation of biofilm reactor systems.

Learning Objectives

After the successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Design and assess the operation of a biofilm system for wastewater treatment based on the conditions and factors affecting the microbial processes and interactions occurring within the biofilm.
Last modified: Saturday, 2 January 2016, 6:06 AM